ABUJA – All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Bill for the benefits of the Nigerian farmers.
Architect Kabir Ibrahim, National President of AFAN, in a statement, explained that PVP bill is the copy right over varieties developed by breeders and farmers alike.
Ibrahim said, “Without the protection provided by PVP, the efforts of our researchers and breeders would be hijacked and other people will be reluctant to avail us with their material for use without control or remuneration.”
He further expressed the support of Nigerian farmers to the passage of PVP bill, the Biosafety bill and Seed Act 2019 by the National Assembly.
On Biosafety Bill, he said the Bill is already in place and deals with the safety of Genetically Modified(GM) Technology and the release of GM crops for cultivation after ascertaining their safety for both human and animal consumption.
He said, “The authority to regulate this technology is vested in the National Biosafety Management Agency(MBMA) which has the responsibility of permitting the use of GMO crops after due diligence.
“There is no scientifically established nexus between Genetically Modified Organisms and cancer but the anti-GMOs are all over the place trying to scuttle the effort to embrace biotechnology which leads to the production of GM Technology that helps in the production of seeds which are high yielding, drought and disease-resistant thereby taking the farmer out of poverty.”
He further noted that the Seed Act 2019 already signed into law makes the National Agricultural Seeds Council(NASC) the regulating authority of agricultural seeds in Nigeria.
Ibrahim pointed out that the seed system is vital to agricultural growth, as it requires extreme care in handling and use because it has life.
“There is a clear distinction between seed and grain.
“Unless this is properly regulated, the farmers will continue to plant grains instead of seeds and thereby remain poor due to low yield.
“Hybridisation on farms and laboratories is allowed and regulated in the Seed Act, as such the farmers can retain the seeds that they develop over time,” he explained.